Focus on Your Strengths, Improve First-Rate Performance to Excellence

Focus on Your Strengths, Improve First-Rate Performance to Excellence“We all have a vast number of areas in which we have no talent or skill and little change of becoming even mediocre. In those areas a person –and especially a knowledge worker– should not take on work, jobs, and assignments.

One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.

And yet most people –especially most teachers and most organizations– concentrate on making incompetent performers into mediocre ones. Energy, resources, and time should go instead into making a competent person into a star performer.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

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The Sociopath In The Office Next Door

Sociopath In The Office Next Door by Davia Temin –
Evil in the office. If you think about it, you’ll probably realize you’ve seen it play out at least once in your career.

All of a sudden a well-running, friendly, effective group or company begins to disintegrate for no apparent reason. People start to become demoralized and dysfunctional, efficiency plummets, client service and sales suffer and convoluted mistakes are made, up to and including illegal behavior such as fraud and larceny. Employees begin to develop psychosomatic illnesses, sick time rises and the best talent starts to leave.

What used to be a great work situation turns into a nightmare.

More often than not this dysfunction can be traced to the entry of one new employee, perhaps the boss, his or his assistant, the head of HR or a new shop steward. And when you start to explore, you find that, though the person may look and act apparently normal–even charming–all those around him or her are suffering. [Read more…]

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Seeing Yourself as Others See You Key to Being a Great Leader

Seeing Yourself as Others See Youby Linda Hill & Kent Lineback –
Becoming a great boss required courage — in particular, the courage to find out how others see you. Almost certainly, others’ perceptions of you will differ in important and perhaps disconcerting ways from your self-perceptions.

This is an important topic. It’s not about being liked or popular, as some assumed in reading our previous blog. It’s about your ability to exert influence, which is your major task as a manager. If you don’t know how your words and actions are perceived and understood, if you don’t know if others trust you (and if they don’t, why not), if you don’t know what others want and expect from you, how can you exert the influence you want?

The problem is, how do you find out? … Simply asking is unlikely to produce a true or complete answer. As the boss, you will often have trouble finding out the truth about anything, especially when it’s negative or problematic. Even if you’re trusted, people are still aware you hold the keys to promotions, pay, and choice assignments. And if you’re not trusted, why would anyone tell you the truth?

Though there are no simple solutions, we can offer some guidelines: [Read more…]

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Ten Success Principles to Remember

Keys to Success Ten Principles to Remember Listed below are ten principles of success to always remember. These are ideas many of us already know or have seen elsewhere. We often need to be reminded of important lessons we’ve already discovered but quickly forget.

  1. There is no progress without action. What is not started today is never finished tomorrow. Some of the greatest ideas never made it. Why? Because the genius behind the idea failed to take action. So take action now and begin to move in the right direction. Once you get started every step afterwards gets easier and easier. Eventually, what had once been invisible, starts to become visible, and what once felt unattainable, starts to become a reality.
  2. You must believe you can. It all starts with a dream. Add confidence, and it becomes a belief. Add commitment, and it becomes a goal in sight. Add action, and it becomes a part of your life. Add determination and time, and your dream becomes a reality. [Read more…]
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Discern Truth and Solve Problems

Discern Truth Solve Problemsby Chris Banescu
Life must be a continuous journey in discerning truth and solving problems. Courage gives us the determination to accept truth. Discipline allows us to consistently and creatively deal with the problems.

Mistakes don’t become failures until we refuse to correct them. Often, long-term failures develop when we purposely ignore truth and make excuses instead of taking the necessary steps to correct our mistakes.

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Ten Enemies of Personal Greatness

Enemies of Personal Greatness by Marc –
Beware!  These ten inner enemies can quickly erode your grandest plans and your noblest intentions.  They can drain your life of passion and potential, and fill your spirit with lifelong regret.

  1. Always taking the path of least resistance. – Just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing.  Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.  Good things don’t come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who work hard and struggle to pursue the goals and dreams they believe in.
  2. Comparing yourself to everyone else. – You will never fully believe in yourself if you keep comparing yourself to everyone else.  Being true to yourself in thoughts, words and actions is as important as being kind and true to others. [Read more…]
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Secrets of the Most Productive People I Know

Productivity Success Productive by Margaret Heffernan –
Like most everyone else, I worry about productivity. Since there aren’t more hours in the day, how can I get more done? That’s made me reflect on the truly productive people I’ve known or worked with throughout my career.

They all share certain characteristics:

1. They have a life.
Far from being the maniacally focused, late night or early morning types, truly creative innovators or problem solvers have a rich life outside of work. One of the finest CEOs I’ve known, Carol Vallone, founder of WebCT, coached her local softball team. She said it’s where she honed her leadership skills. It also meant she had to take her mind off work and think in different ways. No wonder academic research keeps showing that external commitments are highly correlated with high achievement. [Read more…]

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“No” is the New “Yes”: Four Practices to Reprioritize Your Life

Harvard Business Review logo by Tony Schwartz –
Saying no, thoughtfully, may be the most undervalued capacity of our times. In a world of relentless demands and infinite options, it behooves us to prioritize the tasks that add the most value. That also means deciding what to do less of, or to stop doing altogether.

I was sitting with the CEO and senior team of a well-respected organization. One at a time, they told me they spend their long days either in back-to-back meetings, responding to email, or putting out fires. They also readily acknowledged this way of working wasn’t serving them well — personally or professionally.

It’s a conundrum they couldn’t seem to solve. It’s also a theme on which I hear variations every day. Think of it as a madness loop — a vicious cycle. We react to what’s in front of us, whether it truly matters or not. More than ever, we’re prisoners of the urgent.

Prioritizing requires reflection, reflection takes time, and many of the executives I meet are so busy racing just to keep up they don’t believe they have time to stop and think about much of anything. [Read more…]

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The Secret to Mastering Patience

Patience Mastering Patience by John Baldoni –
Having trouble mastering patience?

Well, to combat that, you could try standing in the longest line at the supermarket. Or, when driving on the freeway, get behind someone observing the speed limit—and stay there. Or, if someone yells at you because you are not paying attention, turn and give him or her a big compliment.

The above suggestions were made by callers to an episode of NPR’s Talk of the Nation that featured author Allan Lokos speaking about his new book, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living. Allan’s book is filled with many practical suggestions for how you can master patience.

Patience is a matter of control. I certainly do not possess it, but I do admire those who do.  And as someone who likes to be in control, as do most executives with whom I work, control may open the window to developing greater levels of patience. [Read more…]

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Ten Things to Start Doing to Improve Your Life

Keys to Success in Life by Chris Banescu –
There are many books and articles written about improving your life and achieving success. Often these resources cover common principles and truths you can apply for personal self-improvement, motivation, and inspiration. Others discuss pitfalls and problem areas in your life to watch out for and avoid. Listed below are ten important concepts to start practicing in order to improve your quality of life and get back on the road towards peace and happiness.

  1. Pursue a career you love and are passionate about. – When you love what you do, working hard is enjoyable and making sacrifices for what you’re passionate about is worthwhile. Hard work doesn’t feel hard when you devote yourself fully to it and really like doing it. Don’t settle on a career field you’re not passionate about, don’t feel comfortable in, or hold on to simply because you need the money. Do everything possible to leave a dysfunctional work environment. If you’re not sure what career to pursue, then try different things, read good books, educate yourself, and ask trusted mentors for feedback and advice. Continue searching for something that you’re really good at doing, others appreciate, and you would love to do for the rest of your life. Look diligently and follow your heart and you’ll eventually find it. If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop; you’re on to something big.
  2. Maintain a healthy body and a rested mind. – Your health is your life! It is more important than wealth or success. Don’t sacrifice your health in pursuit of other goals. A tired mind and an unhealthy body are rarely conducive to productive and efficient work and excellent results. Don’t abuse your body and mind. Everything in moderation is key when it comes to eating and drinking. Eat healthy, wholesome, and balanced meals. Exercise regularly, both by lifting weights (strength training) and doing aerobic exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness. Get enough sleep every night and sufficient rest during the day. [Read more…]
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12 Things Happy People Do Differently

Inspirational Happiness How to be Happy by Jacob Sokol –
“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.” ~ Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives. (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

I want to honor and discuss each of these 12 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.

  1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have. [Read more…]
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Stop Procrastinating…Now

Harvard Business Review logo by Amy Gallo –

It seems that no one is immune to the tendency to procrastinate. When someone asked Ernest Hemingway how to write a novel, his response was “First you defrost the refrigerator.” But putting off tasks takes a big hit on our productivity, and psyche. Procrastination is not inevitable. Figuring out why you postpone work and then taking concrete steps to prevent it will help you get more done and feel good about yourself.

What the Experts Say
According to Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist and the author of 12 books, including Driven to Distraction, delaying work is often a symptom of how busy you are. “We procrastinate because we all have too much to do,” he says. And of course, we want to dodge things we don’t like. “Many people procrastinate because they fear the drudgery or the difficulty of the task they are avoiding,” says Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of The Progress Principle. But, as you have likely learned, it doesn’t pay to dawdle. “Putting it off doesn’t make it go away. Getting it done does,” says Hallowell. Here are five principles to follow next time you find yourself deferring important work. [Read more…]

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